UK travel agents heard, 9 March, how China’s business events market is growing faster than any other nation, at a showcase event for the southern resort of Sanya.
MICE sector growth in China is now running at 20%, according to the HelmsBriscoe agency.
Sanya is a top-end resort on the southern island province of Hainan and labelled ‘the Hawaii of China’. A delegation of the resort’s tourism leaders joined Chinese national tourism office representatives at the Kensington close Hotel to
meet with UK travel agents interested in the region’s potential.
Currently 40% of Sanya’s tourists come from Russia, with only 2% being Brits ready to test the white sand beaches and international standard golf courses. A lack of direct flights from the UK is one disincentive to visit from Britain, but there are increasing air connections via Singapore, Hong Kong and Chinese mainland cities.
The Sanya delegation are on a major push in Europe, having visited ITB in Berlin the previous week.
Mr Chen Guojiang from Sanya Tourism Development Commission welcomed guests to the London showcase and Sean O’Hara, the senior vice-president of regional advertising for the BBC’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa section acted as an ambassador for the resort, sharing some business travel experiences in Sanya, where he attended WTTC last year.
Adam Wu, CEO of China Business Network, gave the agents advice on transport and visa issues. In terms of outbound from China, he said Chinese tourists now spend over US$160bn a year abroad.
CN and Conference & Meetings World managing editor Paul Colston and Rose Zhang of the CTS Horizons (UK) specialist China travel agency also made presentations, respectively, examining Sanya’s potential MICE credentials and the potential to create multi-centre travel itineraries in the south of China.
The Miss World pageant and the Boao Forum of Asia-Pacific business and governmental leaders are two major events in recent times to have been hosted in Hainan.
Starwood Sanya, and the Ritz-Carlton Sanya were among the region’s hotels offering prizes for a business card draw on the night.
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